It just so happened that my mother-in-law got an offer she couldn’t and didn’t refuse. As a result we were invited to spend a luxurious week vacationing in Cancun! We stayed at the Royal Sands surrounded by the bluest water and nicest people. I was so busy relaxing all week, I didn’t spend too much time taking pictures, but here’s a few images from the week.
The resort itself was really nice and well taken care of. The staff was beyond friendly and the general vibe was – people are on vacation, most of them in an “all inclusive” kind of way. Not too many kids, probably because it was November.
We have been fortunate enough to have been to 2 all inclusive resort vacations in our life, both times in Mexico. I have to say, it’s the way to go if you actually want a vacation that is relaxing. Otherwise, we generally go on exploring vacations which are amazing in themselves, but hardly relaxing if you’re on the go. This on the other hand is all about chillin’ out. Drink, eat, and lay out on the beach – that’s what you do. Listen to that water and get in when you feel like it! Sounds alright to me. Here’s Joe and my Mother-in-law, Carla on one of the first days there.
The pool area was very nice, but we spent most of our time on the beach. Can you blame us? The water meets the sky with the most stunning range of blues, it’s one of the prettiest beaches I’ve been to. I spent a lot of time in the water collecting seashells and coral, which has been one of my favorite pastimes since I was a tiny person. I found a few great pieces that I intend to make pendants out of.
The beach is set up with lounging chairs under palapas, which offer just enough shade throughout the day. There is beach service for food and drinks at anytime, so basically you never have to leave the beach if that’s how you feel. But man, those beach servers work Hard! So we were sure to tip them well and return the niceness – the whole staff was admirably kind the whole time.
Carla was on point with the palapas, she would rise early and claim our spot for the day. We had front row seats on a few occasions and it was a great show! The waves were roaring all week and we even got to watch a couple of stormy skies roll in… my favorite! I love a good stormy sky, and when it’s over the bluest water mixed with sun, it’s perfection.
The place was rather large and had a few restaurants within the premises. A main restaurant with an extensive buffet, a sports bar with a sushi bar at night, a poolside dining area, you could order food from the beach, or of course get room service. There were also additional restaurants included in the package that were a shuttle ride away. These were a little fancier and lovely treat. Captains Cove is down the block, located on the lagoon side of the peninsula. We had reservations at sunset sitting outdoors right on the water. We were lucky to enjoy a magnificent sunset that evening, and to sweeten the deal, a couple of crocodiles swam up to greet us as well.
We really lucked out, the sunset was beyond beautiful and the weather was perfect. We tried to replicate the evening later in the week when my sister-in-law and her friend joined the party, but it ended up being a rainy night. Not an ideal evening to enjoy the sunset, but still a great meal with a crocodile siting and all.
For the most part, we stuck around the resort and hung out on the beach all week. However, we did get out to explore a few times. One morning we took the bus to Market 28 and walked around. This is a bit outside of “resort world” Cancun. The stretch of resorts is like a tourists paradise, it’s well manicured and clearly caters to people on vacation, seems like some sort of fantasy land. I would have liked to have some images from the market area, it’s a really beautiful city, but I wasn’t in the mindset to snap pictures at the time. We were there on the early side and some of the few tourist walking the market, it was a bit overwhelming to have all the shops trying to strike a deal on repeat, especially because we weren’t exactly looking to pick up any extra items. There are hundreds of shops in a small area. Carla did walk away with a nice new opal ring and a new shirt, so we didn’t leave empty handed after all.
We took a day trip to Chichen Itza. It was about a three hour bus ride away. November is their “slow” month, where only 3,000 tourist visit each day. We picked a good day to go, it happened to be rainy, which likely made it a bit cooler with the sun hiding away, plus we didn’t have to hang inside the resort all day. While it was a rainy day, it was pretty nice while we were there, just drizzled a bit. Below is a miracle picture of El Castillo, The Temple of Kukulcan. I say, “miracle,” because somehow I managed to get a shot without any tourists!
The Temple of Kukulcan is the center of the site, the castle, the pyramid. While there were so many interesting details about how this structure was built, I will just quickly mention a few that stood out to me. Each side has 91 steps and the top tier counts as one making 365 steps, one for each day of the solar year. On the equinoxes, the angle of the sun hits one edge of the stairs creating a triangular wave of light down the length of the stairway towards the stone snakeheads at the bottom creating a full body shadow of a feathered snake. Of course we were not present at the time of the equinox, but the concept is so cool, you can see it here.
The last bit I will mention is about clapping. I had never heard of this before, but if you stand in the field in front of the Temple and clap your hands just right, the clap echoes back with the voice of the sacred quetzal bird. It was really nice to hear, our claps weren’t quite right, but the tour guides had it down. You can hear it for yourself here. So much more, these Mayans had a lot of really big ideas figured out.
Behind these columns original paint is still visible hundreds, thousands of years later.
The Mayan ball court… The Mayans were serious sportsmen, the winner of the game would bask in the glory of the chance to give up his own head to the losing captain who would then be the one to decapitate him for the king. Although it does not sound like an ideal prize to me, it was a great honor for them, it was basically a direct ticket to “heaven.” The Mayans looked at death as another part of life and believed that you could simply come back at any time you wanted.
The walls of the ball court were lined with carvings of tribute to the winners.
The Wall of Skulls… It is said that this platform, the Tzomplantli, was where human sacrifices were preformed and beheaded skulls would be placed for display.
Temple of the Warriors… a large structure surrounded by hundreds of columns representing warriors. Some of the columns were carved and most of them were painted at one time. I thought these columns were quite beautiful with all the moss growing around them.
Chichen Itza was really amazing. As a child I was fascinated by Mayan culture, I definitely made a few dioramas of this place. To see this famous site in person was really fun.
Back to the resort life for a couple more days of beach time relaxing.
I’ll leave you with this image of the perfect view. Something about being by the water really makes you feel alive. The air is so crisp and the world seems to go on forever from there. And the blues, oh the blues! I will be thinking about this while we head in to the dark months of the midwest… different shades of blue.